I haven’t done this in a while, so bear with me as I try and remember how this ‘writing for edutainment’ thing works. I, as I am sure most of you are, am still in some variant of a lock-down. You won’t find me complaining about it as it has a net benefit to me, I get to sit at home and focus on learning, and it is difficult to get me to attend virtual meetings/conferences as the social pressure is non-existent. Bliss.
Of course, it goes without saying that my social skills are regressing, but they are degrading in line with society, so I am still ‘relatively’ normal. The only thing that my life is missing is the occasional trips away with family and friends. I hope you all are holding up well.
For my work, I am at the point where I do not need to be in the lab, although it would improve my results anything I do in the lab now would be the icing on the cake. I am currently writing up results and running an online survey. The online survey will form part of my thesis in combination with some of the practical work I did in 2019. I expect the survey to conclude in a week or so, and then it is just pure writing until the end of my studies, which is just under a year from now. So naturally, my tendencies will ensure that I do not get it finished right until the deadline and chip away at it slowly rather than work hard and get it done with plenty of time to spare.
I am lucky that I decided to invest in a high-quality chair as for the foreseeable future, I will be spending most of my working day in it, with the occasional break for food and exercise.
Warning: completely off-topic rant incoming.
As I have been spending more time online, I have noticed something that I previously had not. What I have noticed is that because of the fact that people understand there is an algorithm at play deciding what content you should see. People have taken to producing content that serves the algorithm and not you.
For example, do a search for any given topic. If you exclude Wikipedia, you’re likely to find a page full of listicles and other such sites that offer ‘hacks, tricks and tips’. I don’t want to see your SEO optimised garbage; I want an essay by someone who is informed on the subject I am searching for.
Is Google the search engine we deserve? Do we only have limited attention that only allows us to learn things in 5, or preferably 3, simple steps?
As is stated in Goodheart’s Law: When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
Because people adjust their behaviour towards the target, and it stops being useful. This happens with everything: GDP, exams, search engines, reviews etc.
Maybe the un-optimised internet was better?
I have also noticed that the layout and styling of a website are highly correlated with the quality of content within. The more effort that has gone into making the website look nice; the less effort has gone into the content. It goes without saying that there are exceptions.
Admittedly, I fell into this trap to when I first started this blog. Now I have become much more minimalist with my approach. Whenever I look at other peoples personal sites, of those people whom I respect, almost always they have the most simple sites imaginable.
This type of approach is very much in line with something I have been implementing over lock-down. I have been changing all the software I use to programs that follow the philosophy of doing one thing well, rather than many things averagely. It also gives me an excuse to learn new software which is obviously a bonus. Strangely the music I listen to has become much more minimalist also; fewer complex melodies and lyrics and more repetitive electronic beats, I find it has improved my concentration slightly.
Anyway, it is time to get back to work. I hope all is well in your part of the world!
Currently reading: Antifragile – Nassim Nicholas Taleb